The LDS Guide to the Scriptures states that patriarchal blessings are “blessings given to worthy Church members by ordained patriarchs. A patriarchal blessing contains the Lord’s counsel for the person receiving the blessing and declares that person’s lineage in the house of Israel. Fathers may give special blessings as the patriarchs of their families, but such blessings are not recorded or retained by the Church.”
Some rules about Patriarchal Blessings
* Typically, a person only receives one patriarchal blessing during his or her lifetime.
* The person giving the blessing must hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and be ordained as a stake patriarch. This ordination gives him the ability to receive direct revelation from God for the person receiving the blessing.
* A person must be interviewed by his or her bishop to be found ready and worthy to receive a patriarchal blessing.
* Most patriarchs only allow one to two people besides the person receiving a blessing to attend. Most often these are close family members, such as parents or a spouse.
* A patriarchal blessing is considered personal and sacred, so it is not to be shared with everyone–only close family.
* Church leaders, such as bishops and stake presidents are specifically told not to interpret meanings from members’ patriarchal blessings. Instead, individuals are counseled to ponder and pray for help in interpreting their blessings.
* It is important to remember that the events mentioned in a patriarchal blessing are not things that will absolutely occur, but may occur if the member is righteous and makes good choices.
Information that a Patriarchal Blessing may include
* Information about that person’s pre-mortal life, including what they learned, did, or who they knew.
* Guidance about his or her family or future family.
* The person’s strengths, talents, characteristics, weaknesses, warnings.
* Information about serving a full time mission for the Church (this occurs more often in blessings for men than women).
* Events that the person will see; especially important milestones of the Church.
* Blessings in their career or church callings. This often includes things like the type of education or calling a person will have, or talents that relate to a career or church calling.
* Reminders to live the commandments.
* Blessings of protection.
* Guidance in making big decisions.
* A person’s lineage. If a person is not literally a blood descendent of the house of Israel, he or she is adopted into it when he or she joins the Church.
Patriarchal blessings can provide guidance, comfort, and encouragement as we go through our lives. They also serve to remind us that we are never alone and that Heavenly Father is mindful of us.